Google, Twitter Team For Election Tuesday

Google and Twitter are letting voters send short messages from their mobile phones, which will appear on a Google Maps Mashup, as they wait in voting lines.

It used to be that you'd stand in a line to vote for your favorite presidential candidate, passing the time by chatting with complete strangers.

Now you can text strangers about your experiences, thanks to a new hook up between Google and Twitter.

Google and Twitter, two of the companies trying to blaze trails with new Internet services, are letting voters send short messages from their mobile phones as they while the time away in election lines.

With an integration between Twitter's short text message service and Google's Super Tuesday Map, users can send text messages of up to 140 characters, a sentence or two, telling the those following the election about their experiences in voting lines.

The messages are sent to Google's Super Tuesday Map, which posts them in rolling fashion, bouncing around from state to state as users log in their thoughts.

To participate, people use Twitter as they normally do, reference Super Tuesday in their post, and the updates show up on the interactive map.

To synch Twitter with the Google Map, Google is using a Twitter feature called Track, which allows people to follow keywords and concepts over Twitter instead of updates by specific people. Essentially, Google is tracking a list of words related to Super Tuesday combined with location information.

For example, users could text "TRACK EARTHQUAKE" to 40404 (Twitter's short code designed for sending text messages) and they would receive any update relating to an earthquake within seconds of it being sent to Twitter, Twitter Co-founder Biz Stone told eWEEK Feb. 5.

Stone said Track is only available over SMS or IM right now, "but we've worked with Google to provide different access not yet available to most folks."

The map also includes Google News election headlines and primary state results, as well as a gadget that tracks the progress of the candidates in the 24 states holding primary elections today.

Why would Google enlist Twitter for this service when it bought fledgling Twitter rival Jaiku last October?

Google isn't sharing what's going on with Jaiku right now, according to a spokesperson, who said the company is still finding ways to "improve the mobile social networking experience."

The temporary service was created for the so-called Super Tuesday, where voters are choosing their presidential party candidates, in what is the largest number of primaries taking place at one time in the history of the U.S. electoral system.

Google will post a roundup of highlights Thursday.

The ad-hoc map and text messaging feature could make primary election day more fun for users. Getting users to stay on their services as long as possible is part of Google's and Twitter's plan to gain more traction with their Web-based services.